Parallel Start at Morningside One Year Later
Written by Leah Hartman in collaboration with Rev. Eliseo Morales Jr.
It’s been one year since Morningside Presbyterian Church began the Parallel Start Project (PSP). Made possible by a generous grant from the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, the PSP is a new worshipping community intended to serve the Fullerton community, particularly its college students and young adults, in a new way.
Following the promptings of God, Morningside Presbyterian Church began to see a need for local young people. Situated between two colleges (Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton Community College), the Morningside area has no shortage of college students. And, while the surrounding area is saturated with worship experiences and small groups of all types and styles, what the young people don’t have is a place, open for extended hours, in which to gather for studying as well as more affordable and healthier dining options.
So the vision was born to open a coffee shop within the Morningside Presbyterian Church facility. Far from just another coffee shop, this new worshipping community will be a place for people to find the peace, love, fellowship, and grace of God.
A year later, Morningside has made lots of progress towards their vision. Not only have they courageously disposed of or donated many items owned by the church for many years in order to clean out large amounts of space to accommodate the future coffee shop, Morningside has also given lots of resources to update the physical and digital aesthetics of the church. Even now, there is a large room being renovated for the new worshipping community. And, although COVID-19 has caused them to alter their approach in some ways, depending on guidelines for coffee shops and whether or not the local colleges will resume on-campus classes this fall, Morningside’s vision and mission, and their commitment to both, remain very much the same.
In the coming year, Morningside hopes to make continued progress towards seeing local young people receive the kind of spiritual, physical, and mental nourishment that they need to thrive and become disciples of Jesus. And they hope that both the new worshipping community, and the existing one, continue to be a united and growing church, mutually benefiting each other.
Eliseo Morales, Jr. says, “The PSP is a tangible ministry that shows we are one church. Morningside Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of Los Ranchos are in a partnership to create something new for the kingdom of God in the city of Fullerton. We are declaring that together we can go further and do better.”
If you or your church would like to support PSP, there are several ways to do so. First, you can pray. Prayer sometimes doesn’t feel like much, but if we understand the power of prayer, we realize it’s actually the most effective thing we can do. Next, you can make donations of all kinds: everything from money to coffee to furniture. Anything you think a coffee shop and place for young people to fellowship might need! Lastly, you can help spread the word, which will generate some excitement for when the new worshipping community is up and running. Particularly, if there’s a young person in your life, encourage them to check us out!